Footloose. Footloose. Kick off your Sunday shoes. We all remember the song but how does this translate to a stage musical of the 1984 film starring Kevin Bacon? You can find out at Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury this week.
Ren McCormack leaves Chicago with his mum for Bomont, a small town in the mid-west. This town is a culture shock from the big city and to top it all off, dancing is banned. When Ren challenges this, he is labelled a troublemaker. This is a church-going community who believe everything Reverend Shaw Moore says. He has the power over the town, his family and his daughter, Ariel. Rev Shaw Moore is played by Darren Day and he was exceptional in the role. Rev Shaw is a troubled soul and Darren portrays this beautifully with that juxtaposition between his personal pain and his authority and power over the town. And Darren is the only person I know who can make a Val Doonican jumper look cool, but Darren has always been cool so that’s a given. The Rev’s daughter, Ariel is clearly trying to rebel against her father and Lucy Munden does this beautifully without alienating us. We understand how she feels and Lucy demonstrates Ariel’s frustration with boyfriends, the town and her father.
Ren is played by Joshua Hawkins and he exudes energy. From the opening scene in Chicago we are almost wanting to get out of our seats and dance with him. He is exactly what Bomont needs and the catalyst to change the town. He makes friends with Willard quickly. Willard is played by Jake Quickenden and he fantastic in the role. He is funny, especially when he learns to dance, but when he gets out of those dungarees – OH BOY! Those gold shorts would feel more at home in Rocky Horror but I can’t hear anyone complaining. Its certainly a chance for Jake to show us what he’s got. Of course, he has a lovely soulful voice and his rendition of Mama Says was a stand out number in the show.
The show has some great numbers in it including well known songs such as Holding Out For A Hero and Let’s Hear It For The Boy and of course the title track, Footloose, as well as some lesser known songs for the show such as The Girl Gets Around, Mama Says and I Can’t Stand Still. How many shows can you see that have a number with a basketball? Not only that but cast playing guitar while jumping over a skipping rope? It’s a fantastic feel-good show so let’s give Aylesbury a friendly hoedown and get dancing legal once again.
If you want a good time and your feet want to dance, forget Bomont – get along to Waterside Theatre where this show is on until 14 May.